The newest trend on the social media app TikTok sees american students destroying or vandalizing parts of the school then uploading video of it, and administrators are less then thrilled"--phineas hildreth, 7th grade
The latest trend on the social media app TikTok, “devious licks,” managed to garner over 175 million views on videos that use the hashtag, in an alarming 15 days before TikTok managed to shut it down. The trend promoted students stealing or vandalizing items from their school and uploading videos of the stolen object or “lick,” usually while a sped-up version of the song “Ski Ski BasedGod” by Lil’ B plays in the background.
The trend’s origin comes from a video posted in September by TikTok user @jugg4elias in which they are seen with a box of disposable masks taken from their school with the caption, "A month into school... devious lick." The enormous popularity of the trend has led to a lot of controversies and has grown so popular that lots of schools have had to send out warnings to parents, such as James Bowie High School in Austin, Texas, which sent an email cautioning parents about a “disturbing amount of vandalism across the campus" due to the trend.
Administrators have reported broken mirrors, missing soap dispensers, and even hijacking of the fire alarms. These administrators have responded by closing the bathrooms and putting security outside. In Virginia, Fairfax spokesperson Kathleen Miller stated that authorities were aware of the incidents and that “disciplinary action will be taken” and Haney from Canyons School district in Utah says that, “For some of the older students, there could be serious consequences: Students could face felony charges if the damage exceeds $1,000,”.
The trend has seen a lot of backlash with many students across the US being arrested for participating. Nine students from Marion county public schools in Ohio have been charged with misdemeanor vandalism for destroying a urinal and paper towel dispensers, and eight students in Kentucky have also been arrested, four for charges of vandalism, and the other four for theft.
Although TikTok has responded by blocking the hashtag used for the trend and taking down videos that use it, the trend has not stopped. Alternate spellings or phrasing like “diabolical licks” or “devious liks” have become almost as popular as the original and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. “We do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities,” said a spokesperson for TikTok—but principal Laundi is not satisfied. “The move from TikTok only goes so far: As soon as one hashtag is deleted, alternate phrases or spellings — such as ‘Diabolical Licks’ or ‘Devious Liks’ — pop up,” she said to the Washington Post. “It’s added stress on the teacher, students, and the staff.”
Riding the popularity of the trend, people on TikTok released a list of monthly challenges to film themselves doing at school, and the first challenge is to “smack a staff member.” Local school district OUSD responded with an email from the superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell saying, “One of the first things I remember learning in school is the phrase keep your hands to yourself. It’s something that educators teach their students so they respect each other’s personal space. Now, years after I moved out of the classroom, I have the unenviable task of reminding our students they need to keep their hands to themselves.”
“Let me be clear about this:,” she continued, “smacking a staff member on the backside is a violation of the California education code, district board policy, district administrative code, and the OUSD code of student conduct. Committing such an act could result in punishment, including but not limited to suspension or expulsion.”
“Devious licks” has become a meme of sorts on TikTok and sparked the parody trend “angelic yields,”, which sees students essentially doing the opposite of devious licks and leaving areas better than they found it.
With the gallon challenge, the bath salt challenge, the cinnamon challenge, and the infamous tide pod challenge, it seems like the internet has a knack for taking challenges (that were already a terrible idea) too far and now “devious licks” is another example.